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On The Road With Dad-Chapter 10

Fashion & Style”
stage-niceJust read Dad’s latest answer about my dress sense. He’s accused me of “The Glue Technique” since I was about, well, always really, and it’s a fair observation, my look can be…..busy.
But I’d argue this was more of an inheritance. Dad takes great joy in pulling up his trouser leg most evenings to show me the latest sock, which is always a loud clash of neon, broken up with shouty words of life encouragement like “Keep Calm and Rock On!” And then there are the ties. Dear God, the ties. We found some adorned with piano keys and various musical emoticons in a motorway café.tie1He started off by saying “golly look at these, they’re horrendous!!” but the more he held up to his neck, the more the word “horrendous” was replaced by “genius”, and soon after that, the look of far off sadness appeared in his eyes as he walked away from the stand having not purchased at least 5.

He wore a matching tie and socks to my best friend Sarah’s wedding, that were both so offensively bright in the yellow department that another of my best chums in attendance,suite-and-tie Paisley, spent most of the day running away from him, because he kept trying to stand next to her shouting that his accessories matched the yellow dress she was wearing, (they didn’t) and the more cross she got, the more hilarious he found it. This is who he is.

The other afternoon, we had some mini downtime – actually we had a big dose of downtime just before with the first of our only 2 days off on this trip.
“Right, so tomorrow, we’re going to plan – plan and also do some practicing – I’ve already made some lists.” He said, near me, rather than to me – his statement didn’t sound like it was up for discussion.
“Oh. I thought I was going to sleep in, do laundry, maybe read a little and just generally be left the hell alone?” I say crossly inside my own head.
“OK.” I say out loud. Resistance is always futile.

Back to more mini downtime right before a gig, we’re wandering around the streets of Stuttgart – amazing city hidden away in the depths of a mountain valley. It almost felt like going into a magical land because you don’t see it coming – you just drive through an exceptionally long tunnel for about 15 minutes and then suddenly you’re in the center. Reminded me of arriving into Toontown in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
“Ahh, Mango!!” Dad said, as if it were a long lost and familiar friend off in the distance. “No, Wait – Zara – I like Zara – do you like Zara? Crikey, look at that outfit.”
He’s now staring agog at a window mannequin sporting a cricket blazer, blue & white stripy shirt, red cravat and hat, accompanied by rather short-shorts, a briefcase and brogues. It’s a look that would be more at home around the bodies of the Dalston Dawn Patrol but, while I can’t picture Dad in it, it does sort of work.
“Hmmm…very ‘East’.” I observed
“East what?” he asked, frowning. “As in Beirut?” (glance to camera)

We’re now inside another store and he’s bouncing around, distractedly looking at items of clothing and touching them. Touching them with that furrowed brow one adopts when, one doesn’t really know what they’re looking for but wants to give the impression they know a lot about fabrics and cuts. “Hmmm” he said, knowingly after fondling the shirt collar on another mannequin.dc-and-statue
“That’s is quite ‘you’ isn’t it Jem?” he said, pointing at what turned out to be a picnic blanket, “And these scarves – very colourful and jolly aren’t they? You should get one.”
Memories of the presents he used to bring home to me and my sister after being on tour in the Far East are making a bit more sense – lots of whacky and beautiful silk pajamas from Bangkok, with matching slippers and dressing gowns. I’m starting to wonder if he knew they were PJ’s and night attire, rather than something he thought we’d love to wear with our party shoes?
Just running out of dressing room for quick wee and mirror check before I go on stage.
“Baha!! I see the glue has been administered well this evening!!” sox
“Thanks, Dad”, I muster, my confidence building. “Nice socks.”

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